Businesses Need to Build Digital Competence for New Era – Gartner

Published by on Jul 8th, 2014, No Comments

_ALP0435_5Gartner, Inc. estimates that by 2020, there will be 7.3 billion personal devices and 30 billion sensors in things ranging from jewellery to appliances – up from 1.6 billion personal devices and 0.9 billion sensors in 2009. These devices communicating, transacting, and even negotiating with each other, lead into a new world – the era of the digital business.

“The digital business is the coming together of possibilities in the physical and virtual worlds to create new business designs that can drive competitive advantage,” said Jeffrey Mann, Gartner research vice president.

“As the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart objects meet cloud, mobile, social and information, the IoT will create entirely new combinations of technology at accelerated speeds,” said Mr Mann. “This will disrupt existing business models, reshape entire industries and redefine the role of IT.”

Gartner projects that by 2020 the total economic value-add for the IoT will be $1.9 trillion in this digital industrial economy.

Mr Mann added that it’s not about using technology as an enabler, but as a source of innovation for what the business could do. “Businesses need to put technology at the heart of how they generate revenue, seize competitive advantage and produce value.”

This digitalisation will completely change business technology and information architecture, what it needs from vendors, and how it deals with cyber security and risk. It will also require every business leader to have digital leadership skills.

“Especially in South Africa there’s been a lot of emphasis on cutting budgets to the bone,” said Mr Mann. “A lot of the decisions that were made to ‘do more with less’ can hurt digital business efforts if there isn’t enough flexibility to react to and take advantage of new opportunities.”

This year’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa will focus on emerging technologies, defining strategy, what leaderships skills are going to be necessary, and what you have to be ready for in the new digital industrial economy. It will also look at the more practical short-term challenges of how to run the business better, like how to decide on a collaboration platform or how to design an application portfolio.

As part of the agenda, vice president and Gartner Fellow Mark Raskino’s 2015 digital business scenario will look at the most important digital business actions each senior executive must take. Principal research analyst, Will Hahn, will explain why you need 53 African Strategies for success on the continent. Research vice president Brian Burke will look at how gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things. In addition, research vice president Frank Buytendijk will explore digital ethics at the centre of the digital business.

“Businesses can’t rely on old practices, safe relationships, legacy technologies and known vendors anymore in the new digital era,” said Rene Jacobs, Gartner Africa managing director.

“They have to explore, adapt and adopt new digital realities,” said Mrs Jacobs Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2014, the foremost gathering of IT leaders on the continent, will equip and inspire senior executives with new digital knowledge from our specially crafted agenda, peer networking and one-on-one discussions with Gartner analysts.

The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2014 will take place at the CTICC from 10-12 September. A team of 18 of Gartner‘s leading research analysts will spend three days sharing more than 50 presentations with new global research and in-depth studies. The ITxpo will also showcase some of the latest service provider offerings. For more information and a full agenda, please visit


Official: Vodacom to acquire Neotel for R7,0bn

Published by on May 19th, 2014, 1 Comment

NeotelFurther to the SENS announcement on 30 September 2013, Vodacom has reached an agreement with the shareholders of Neotel Proprietary Limited to acquire 100% of the issued share capital in, and shareholder loans against, Neotel for a total cash consideration equivalent to an enterprise value of R7.0bn.

Neotel, which started operations in 2007, is the second largest provider of fixed telecommunications services for both businesses (commonly referred to as enterprise services) and consumers in South Africa. The company has access to over 15,000 km of fibre-optic cable, including 8,000 km of metro fibre in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Neotel also has access to 2 x 12 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum, 2 x 5 MHz of 800 MHz spectrum and 2 x 28 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum.

Neotel will become a subsidiary of Vodacom South Africa and the combination with Vodacom’s South African fixed enterprise business will create a national service provider with annual revenues of more than R5bn. (more…)

Political Parties use Mxit to Mobilize Youth Market

Published by on May 6th, 2014, No Comments

Political parties are bolstering their social presence on Mxit in the run-up to the elections on the 7th of May. Following the highly successful voter registration drives by the IEC earlier this year on Mxit, the ANC, DA and Agang have used some creative methods to rally support and promote engagement on the proudly South African mobile social network.

Agang allowed users to create community groups by location or interest on their Mxit app. Members who joined the group could then create topics and post comments to a forum-style wall. Group creators, or leaders, could also send announcements and updates from within the app to the members of their group.

The ANC is hosting a series of “Live Chat” sessions on their MyANC app, where a number of government ministers engage thousands of young people in a promoted 1-hour session. It allows users to ask questions and voice concerns directly to high-ranking officials and decision makers. The next Live Chat session is scheduled for 30 April with the Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom.

The DA opted for an interactive game as Mxit has one of the biggest gaming communities in South Africa. The DA’s game, DemocraCITY, allows a user to take control of a virtual country and look after it’s people. In a fun and interactive way it addresses a wide range of socio-political challenges and users need to make decisions and take actions on matters ranging from the building of schools, coping with natural disasters, resisting bribes and confronting corruption as they lead “their” community to prosperity. The game is currently generating more than 1.3 million page impressions per day. (more…)

Apple’s “Healthbook” Screenshots Leaked (Update: Recreated)

Published by on Mar 18th, 2014, No Comments


Everyone seems to be focussed on the iWatch as Apple’s latest revolutionary product – but it turns out that the software around it might be the truly revolutionary aspect of wearables. While most “wearables” seem to focus on only certain aspects (like movement), it looks like Apple will be building a much broader platform.

Healthbook is Apple’s latest project which seems to work in a similiar fashion to the current underutilized Passbook interface. The app is divided into “cards” that keep track of key elements of your health – like heart rate, weight, activity etc. 9to5Mac managed to recreate many of the screenshots that can be expected. (more…)

Google Drive drops price to $2 per month for 100GB

Published by on Mar 14th, 2014, 5 Comments


Dropbox has been the darling of anyone (including us) who wanted a well designed cloud storage tool that synced with your desktop, smartphone and a web interface. Google launched their Drive product 2 years ago, but today dropped their pricing to bargain levels.

Google just announced their latest pricing – a 100GB of cloud storage for $2 a month and 1TB of storage for $10. This means you can have a proper amount of storage for your files, photos etc, which is always safe in the cloud as well. As a bonus, if you have multiple devices, the files can be always accessible from any of those machines. You can also always access all your files from any web browser.

So far the only disadvantage to Google Drive is that it does not quite have the developer API support that Dropbox has, but that should change quickly. That, and of course having to re-upload all your files if you have used Dropbox until now…

Now you have no excuse for not backing up.

Go to to set up a larger Google Drive.

Wyzetalk launches Graduate Hub for students

Published by on Feb 28th, 2014, No Comments

WyzetalkWyzetalk has today announced the launch of Graduate Hub – the social and business network that connects students in a closed social community, allowing them to discuss their studies, jobs, bursaries, lifestyle and other areas of common interest.

“There is a real need for students to receive information that is pertinent to them in every phase of their student life. Not only are they in a phase of accumulating and sharing knowledge, they are also faced with the reality of funding their studies and finding work experience that will get them ahead. The Graduate Hub community was created to provide very necessary support from like-minded individuals and companies that have the best interests of students at heart,” says Gys Kappers, CEO of Wyzetalk.

The social business platform is easy to access on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone using native apps for each technology environment that can be downloaded from the stores. It’s safe and conversations are focused on topics that are only relevant to the students and not cluttered with social chatter and irrelevant ads. “It’s not just about content, ideas and chatter; rather it is about using a rich multi-play platform in a meaningful way to gain intelligence, insights and sentiment in a way that will help students come together to share interests and make more informed decisions about their studies and future. (more…)

Hitachi Data Systems expands partnership with Symantec

Published by on Feb 28th, 2014, No Comments

symantec-logo-vert-white-300__2_Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today announced an agreement with Symantec to resell Symantec NetBackup data protection software and Enterprise Vault information archiving software. HDS selected Symantec’s information management solutions because of their proven reliability in helping customers protect and store their critical information inside the evolving data center.

Enterprise customers want an end-to-end solution from a single vendor to solve their data protection and retention problems. Businesses want to know their data is protected today more than ever before. The rise in big data analysis and the competitive advantage it brings has made that data more valuable to business. As a result, the need to protect data is increasing along with complexity, while budgets are decreasing. With its extended agreement with Symantec, HDS can now provide the best information management, software and services by leveraging the combined capabilities of the two companies.

“Symantec is excited to provide Hitachi Data Systems customers access to its market-leading critical data protection and information governance solutions,” said Brent Simon, vice president, Global Systems Integrators and Partners, Symantec. “Symantec and HDS have worked together successfully in the field for many years, delivering enterprise-class solutions to our joint customers. This agreement extends our partnership, enabling customers to acquire a complete hardware, software and services solution for their backup and recovery and retention needs from Hitachi Data Systems.” (more…)

New BlackBerry Flagship Announced – the Q20

Published by on Feb 28th, 2014, 5 Comments


After listening to feedback from its passionate QWERTY customers around the world, BlackBerry today unveiled a new flagship smartphone designed to deliver its traditional QWERTY experience on BlackBerry 10. The new BlackBerry Q20 smartphone will feature the familiar and classic ‘Menu’, ‘Back’, ‘Send’ and ‘End’ buttons and the integrated trackpad to enable the fast efficient navigation and one-handed use that has endeared the brand to its QWERTY customers.

“In my first 90 days on the job, I consistently heard from our ardent BlackBerry customers that the hard buttons and trackpad are an essential part of the BlackBerry QWERTY experience, that made their BlackBerry smartphone their go-to productivity tool. I want these customers to know that we heard them, and this new smartphone will be for them,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO at BlackBerry. (more…)